Friday, August 16, 2019

{SQT} For-Sale Sign Is Up!

1. Weekend Fun

Chris took David to his brothers' ice skating lessons, so that I could help clean the old house for listing it: two-year-olds can have fun anywhere.

Big Sunday breakfast at the new house . . .

John had the honor serving as vimp at the Rite of Confirmation Mass in the Extraordinary Form with the bishop on Sunday. He sat by the bishop's side and held his heavy crozier for two hours. It was a wonderful Mass!

2. David's birthday

Chris' parents had come for the weekend to celebrate David's second birthday: click here.

3. Getting Back to Routines

After traveling out of state twice this summer and then moving homes, we are sorely in need of routines being established during this last two weeks before school begins. Do my readers also notice that everyone is out of sort and behavior is difficult when children (and adults) have too much freedom? I'm praying for other families who I know are heading back to school routines soon and I ask you to pray for ours!

I am trying to get morning prayers and holy reading re-established . . .

Toddler brother reading with older brother reading his holy meditations
I am trying to get my prayer life and holy reading back in order, too!

I'm not doing a Morning Time and not sure where I can create the time in our upcoming school schedule, but I have started reading aloud the edifying "Character Calendar" by Sr. Mary Fidelis and Sr. Mary Charitas (orig. pub. 1931) to the family during breakfast.

I've written a Family Chore Chart for the new home and know it is a work-in-progress. There is much re-training to be done about daily chores in general and the chores that are new and different for this home.

I've formally launched anew reading aloud at night! Since the top three children will be independently reading some serious literature for school imminently, I decided to try reading aloud a hagiography instead and launched with a favorite of mine: The Life of Blessed Margaret of Castello (TAN Books). I persevered through the protests of the first chapter, by the end of which the children were hanging on my every word. Now, each night, they beg for more of this most moving and touching story . . . and I, also, can't wait to get back to it!

I'm moving bedtimes earlier and morning times earlier, trying to get everyone awake and dressed with beds made right away, with our experimental goal that all music practice is completed between 7:00 and 9:00 a.m.

4. Idle Hands

Lest any reader thinks I have it all together, know exactly what I'm doing, and that only women who are natural-born fantastic mothers have larger families, let me disabuse you of that notion. It feels impossible at times to supervise the children while I have to unpack a home--and in a short period of time. I start my "full time job" in ten days when homeschooling begins, at which point I will have no time left for unpacking a box for about nine months (no time left for leaving the house, exercising, reading a novel, chatting on the phone, practically even for simple personal care . . .). So, I'm trying to unpack, but if I let the children run off to play, the youngest ones get into mischief. If I keep them all in the same room as me, fights galore break out and I am not even getting through a single box without having to manage the next discipline. I can think of all the pat answers I would give another mom complaining of this same thing to me, but, in my own shoes, all I can say is that it is overhwhelmingly challenging and humbling.

I need a big dose of God's grace to be a kind and patient mama while being a very efficient and productive mama as well!

Positive occupations this week have involved music lessons, well-child doctor checks, online orientations for upcoming courses, playing board games, listening to books on CD, playing with play food at the table while Mama cooks dinner, playing elaborate games of soldiers, catching frogs, harvesting Margaret's first pole bean, swimming, playing basketball in the driveway, perfecting the rip stick in the cul-de-sac, going to a play date, and watching a new-to-us version of "Heidi" (1993 starring Jason Robards and Jane Seymour).

New Melissa and Doug cutting food for David's birthday

Negative occupations this week have involved dumping out a bottle of White Out on the brand new carpet (no, we have not been able to get it out), spreading a new tube of toothpaste mixed with a bottle of Compound W (acid!) all over the bathroom and then flooding it with water, stomping a muddy path of 20 feet (ruining that entire stretch of lawn) . . . okay, that was all the four-year-old's doing . . . and fighting (everyone can share in that claim).

I guess what I really need is a huge dose of God's grace and for the four-year-old never to leave my supervised side!

5. House Is Listed!

It has been an honor to watch how hard my husband has worked to get the old house listed for sale. Once we moved in, nearly all of my attention has been on settling into the new house, while Chris has had to split his attention to innumerable details between two homes, and getting very little sleep to achieve that. John (12) was his right-hand man accomplishing many small home repairs and watching and learning from his dad managing many contractors.

John enjoyed  watching the real estate photographer do his work, including taking photos with a drone. The gentleman let John land the expensive drone in a field, which was a thrill!

Now our beloved home of 12 years is listed and we pray for buyers to choose it quickly and for it to bless their lives as it has ours.

Will a future neighborhood resident love all our wildlife? We currently have a mama deer with triplets we see quite often . . . and in the below photo with two babies nursing!

Mama deer with triplets: Photo courtesy of David M.
And we've had fox sightings lately . . .

Fox sighting: Photo courtesy of Katie G.

6. Feast of the Assumption

The Feast of Our Lady's Assumption into heaven is a holy day of obligation, so Chris attended Mass in the morning adjacent to his morning meeting, and then I went in the evening with just the older children so the youngest two wouldn't have their bedtimes disturbed.

I made strawberry shortcake for dessert and served it after lunch when we were all home, knowing half of us would be gone during the evening. I managed to put out a statue of Our Lady to be festive, but that's all this overwhelmed mama could do this time around.

Beautiful evening clouds after Mass

7. Exhausted

We are still all exhausted, but happily so.

Thomas (4) fallen asleep in a kitchen chair at dinner

For more 7 Quick Takes Friday, check out This Ain't the Lyceum.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Happy Birthday, David!

Happy Second Birthday to David!

David is a much beloved soul in our family, and definitely pampered like the baby of a family! 

David is very communicative with a good vocabulary, stringing words together, and the occasional short sentence. He potty trained well this summer, but regressed during the move (that's real life!), so I plan to start anew within a couple of weeks. Upon moving into this new home, he moved from his own sleeping space in with his bigger brothers like a champ. I couldn't believe there wasn't a difficult transition and that he simply falls asleep in a room with numerous siblings in bunks.

Despite doubts voiced by the older children, I overheard it being declared that a chocolate chip "cake" (just a giant chocolate chip) from the grocery store was the "best cake we've ever had!"

Two years old!
We have been living in this home for eight days and Chris' parents came for the weekend, so we had a pulled pork Southern feast to celebrate on the eve of his birthday--thanks to Grandmom for cooking most of it! I take credit for the boxed mac and cheese and the Steamables (microwave) green beans.

David received this old-school faux telephone that does not even make any noise (I don't "do" noise-making toys because I have six noise-making children) and it was such a favorite that he would not let go of it for the duration of his gift-opening. I love this toy.

Being a sixth child, all he received from Mom and Dad (besides a great new house!) was a pair of shoes because he outgrew his shoes last week.

He finally let go of the telephone when he opened his final gift from Grandpa: a Little Tykes slide! All the photos I took were a blur, so I will simply attest that the youngest three kids slid down this slide approximately a zillion times.

Then we went for a swim (actually, David kept sliding down the slide indoors) . . .

. . . and enjoyed poolside cake and ice cream.

Friday, August 9, 2019

{SQT} Settling In

1. God's Gifts

The amount of screen time we consume waxes and wanes, and I had been becoming disappointed with its frequency in the last couple of months. There were so many times I needed to work on preparing to move and it was easiest to turn on the TV to keep little children quiet . . . then older children wander over to it . . . . 

So, I had planned that after the Big Move, I would work on cutting way back on television so it is less than a daily event. Would I have had the strength to do this? We can all doubt that, but God gave me the gift of our losing our TV remote about one day after moving in. 

Therefore, I've been unpacking and doing a tremendous amount of work, all while unable to dump my children in front of the screen to be quiet, nicely behaved zombies. Instead, they have been loud, creative, messy, and active--which I have to remind myself are better adjectives (than passive, silent, and motionless) for healthy children anyway.

Toddler hiding in empty cabinets

6-year-old playing with Flexees

8-year-old reading in the library window seat



Toddler playing with magnets
The children found an old framed copy of Monopoly--Sacramento version and proceeded to hand create all the proper cards for it (with all the property values, etc.) and have been playing Monopoly--Sacramento all week. Yes, fights ensue, but a lot of fun is had along the way, too.

The children created a newspaper this week with regular assigned columns and journalists working the beat. The children are working feverishly writing columns, which I find all over the house (yes, mess . . .  yes, so wonderful), including my favorite which was an advice piece on why praying the rosary as a family will bring us to salvation, as written by one of my favorite 8-year-old girls.

Another writing project stems from the Science Lab the kids created in one of the home's closets. One child wrote out a dozen experiments that little siblings could do. This led to so much more, including doing of many of the experiments on their own ("Mama, can we borrow your such-and-such?") and now they are planning a Scientific Convention and are all writing speeches for it. I, for one, hope I can obtain tickets to attend this illustrious event.

Writing feverishly
May God give me the strength to continue minimizing TV to purposeful use as a family instead of AS AN IMMORAL BABYSITTER FOR THE SOULS GOD GAVE ME CHARGE OF.

2. Learning How to Cook

Learning how to cook on a glass range (instead of gas) in the new home . . . 

3. Deer

I was worried that our new home, 350 feet away from the old home, would be out of the well-trodden path of the deer we enjoy watching. It turns out that our cul-de-sac is even more a haven for deer, to the point that they are bold, fearless, walk around in herds in broad daylight, eat everything, and a less smitten person might call it a deer infestation.

Well, even I confess to buying deer repellent products for the first time.

Spotted fawn in our front lawn

4. Houseplants

John has been eagerly planning a succulent garden but I made him wait until we moved. So, five whole days later, I took him to the nursery where he had the most delightful conversation with the plant expert in charge of that department. (She is unaccustomed to young people who love plants and who converse with adults easily and while making eye contact.) He assembled a collection, which is now the centerpiece to our kitchen table in the sun room.

5. Pool Fun

6. Housework

Unpacking continued feverishly all week. These representative photos show the results from one day's unpacking . . .

At the old house, we took six car loads of detritis left behind, had the house painted inside, had the house pressure washed and windows washed outside, and Chris made various repairs around the home. Upcoming, a housecleaning team and I will clean the home, the carpets will be cleaned, and the house will be staged with furniture before it is ready for listing!

7. Exhausted

We are all exhausted, but happily so!

For more 7 Quick TAkes Friday, check out This Ain't the Lyceum.